Don’t Care About the Failing Auto Industry? You Should.

An ominous sign of collapse

Shelly Fagan
3 min readDec 4, 2021


Photo by Haidan on Unsplash

I went to a local Hyundai dealership today. They had one new car for sale. One.

The giant lot looked like a post-apocalyptic wasteland. For a moment, I worried the dealer had gone out of business. Even my ride noted there was something very unsettling about the emptiness.

A handful of used cars were displayed in the showroom. The dejected sales people watched one smartly-dressed buyer haggling over a car that was destined to become her grandchild’s graduation gift.

As I drove past other dealerships, I noticed the same depressing situation on lot after lot.

How did we get here

The decline in production can be blamed on the semiconductor chip shortage which has been exacerbated by increased consumer demand. The shortage is expected to persist thru 2023 affecting new cars, trucks, parts, and repairs.

This week, the Biden administration pushed a $52 billion CHIPS For America Act to address the crisis by moving manufacturing back to the US. Like the supply chain fix, the proposal seeks to address future problems, not the current catastrophe.

Maybe you don’t drive, or you aren’t in the market for a new vehicle so you don’t care about this ominous sign of collapse.

You should.

Autos are the life blood of the US economy

In 2021, the US auto market was $82.6 billion and accounted for over 10 million jobs.

That’s 8 percent of the workforce contributing a staggering $650 billion in payroll circulating through the economy.

Each year car and truck manufacturing, sales, service — all of the money related to the industry — accounts for $1.1 trillion into the economy. That money is no longer flowing.



Shelly Fagan

Complicated subjects made accessible. Politics, Basic Income, Philosophy. I follow back.